Solar Power Generation in Q3 2020 Down 17% from Previous Quarter

The dip was in line with the annual trend where solar generation usually falls during the monsoons


India generated nearly 13 billion units (BU) of electricity from solar-based sources between July and September 2020 (Q3 2020), according to data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

This represented a 17% decline from the previous quarter, which saw 15.7 BU of power generated. However, generation was up 22% from the same period last year.

India-Solar Electricity Generation (MU) by Quarter

While solar-based power generation was on the rise over the last few quarters despite the pandemic owing to the ‘must run’ status provided to solar. The present dip is in line with the monsoon season every year when solar generation declines due to a lack of sunlight. Solar power generation saw a similar fall last year when generation declined 14% quarter over quarter in the third Q3 2019.

In the first nine months of 2020 (9M 2020), India generated 43.9 BU of solar power, up 27% from 34.5 BU in the same period last year. Solar generation has been rising steadily over the previous few years as the country continues to add capacity to meet its national targets.

India-Solar Electricity Generation 9M 2017 - 9M 2020 (MU)

Recently, Mercom reported that India’s share of renewable energy (including large hydropower projects) in the total power capacity mix crawled to 36.4% in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) from 36.3% in the previous quarter, according to the data from the CEA and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Renewable installations have been severely affected by the COVID pandemic in India, bringing solar projects to a halt due to labor shortages.

Last month’s CEA data showed that India’s power supply deficit narrowed down to 0.3% in the first half of the financial year 2020-2021 – an improvement from the same period last year, which saw a 0.5% deficit. Between April and September 2020, 625.5 BU of power was supplied against a demand of 627.6 BU, highlighting a deficit of 2.1 BU or 0.3%.